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I'm unvaxxed and immunocompromised. I got Covid. Here's how it went.
"A lot of you have been asking..."
But really, a lot of people have asked me how it went. Some out of concern due to my lack of ‘protection’ from the jabs, which is very sweet. Some out of morbid curiosity. Some just being polite.
In sharing my experience I want to emphasise that this is my experience only. This is in no way intended to be prescriptive or indicative of the experiences of others. My experience does not invalidate your experience. Take what you like and leave the rest.
Here’s how Covid went for me.
Yes I did get sick.
Proper sick. A shitty flu with the headaches, body aches and a hacking cough. The fatigue was intense. All I could manage was light reading and cooking. It was unenjoyable, although it was quite relaxing to just flop around the house. I was sick for 9 days. A couple of years ago I had a flu so bad that I was in bed for 2 1/2 weeks and sick for another month after that, so if that was a 10 then Covid was a 7.
On the upside, with all that time at home, we cooked broth and soup and jamu (recipe here). Pure, homemade goodness, all week. My skin was absolutely glowing by the end of quarantine period. We got lucky – I came down with Covid first. My partner conveniently came down with it the evening after doing a massive shop at the farmers market. Being well-stocked made our week a wholesome feast.
I also managed to start and finish Season 4 of Ozark. High stress. So good.
Treatment. See: El Salvador
Once I determined that the jabs were not going to be possible for me, I set to learning about every other precaution and treatment available – and even unavailable. Before I caught the virus, I primed my system with high Vit D, Vit C and Zinc. I also did all the usual immune supporting things, including regular movement, fresh air, enough sleep, minimal blue light (I cheat on this too much), eating organic, unprocessed food and meditating. Pretty much everything recommended by the El Salvador government, plus a few of my own practices for flair. See the El Salvador government’s Covid campaign below.
Once I got sick, I followed a mash-up of the Front Line Covid Critical Care Alliance protocol and bits and pieces from various experts qualified to speak on these things. Unfortunately the GP I consulted here in Perth told me that there is no treatment for Covid, so I had to look elsewhere for advice. During my 7 days of quarantine, I took:
Low dose Aspirin OR during the intense body ache phase, a combo of Panadol and Neurofen
So again, basically the El Salvador approach.
The vitamins were easy to get; Quercitin was a bit harder. I eventually found it in this form. The Ivermectin was at first impossible as prescribing it is banned in Australia under most circumstances and is limited to a very few specialists. There was a big beat up in the media about Ivermectin being unsafe and the US FDA even tweeted ‘you are not a horse’ to discourage use in humans, but this was disingenuous given Ivermectin’s long known use in public health across Africa, in Haiti and more.
As Ivermectin is on the WHO list of essential medicines 2021; and as so many countries successfully treated Covid with Ivermectin; and due to the tonne of studies and summaries I read of trials showing its safety and efficacy in short term use for treatment of Covid; and due to the real-world data showing how well Africa (where Ivermectin is used as a prophylactic) has fared, I decided to give it a crack.
Eventually I was able to source Ivermectin from a safe and reputable source in Australia.
Recovery. My period of extended convalescence.
Convalescence (n) The gradual return to health and strength after illness.
The number one catch cry I have heard in my own network from those recently recovered from Covid is the persistence of fatigue as they try to go about their daily business. I am also aware of the possibility of long symptoms, so I took recovery equally as seriously after the infection period as during. In a recent article in National Geographic, Viashnavi Chandrashekhar ponders the disappearance of convalescence from our industrialised working culture. Down a packet of cold and flu tablets, back to work in 2 days. There’s no time to rest and recuperate, to fully recover. Chandrashekhar offers that the pandemic provides an opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with the practice of convalescence.
“The pandemic offers an opportunity to reconsider the patient’s experience, suggests Sally Sheard, historian and executive dean of the Institute of Population Health at the University of Liverpool, as well as the kind of time we are willing to allow for recuperation. “One of the clearest messages from my work on convalescence is that you cannot rush the process,” she says. In the United Kingdom, some COVID-19 patients were discharged too fast, to free up beds, while others were delayed in hospital too long because they had no help at home, she says, adding, “so maybe we need halfway or recovery homes,” not unlike older convalescent homes.”
After resting a full 8 days, I took it really slow. No cardio or intense exercise. Childs pose in yoga, early to bed, no social engagements after work. When I returned to pilates and my other regular forms of exercise a week later, I dropped down to beginner weights and paced myself.
I’ve also been getting to the sauna once a week, and infrared where possible. If I had all the time and money in the world, I’d go 2-3 times a week during this recovery period. My main concerns as regards long covid are neurological degeneration, cardiovascular problems, brain fog and general fatigue. Hot and cold therapy are documented to confer serious benefits on all these fronts. I have been using infrared saunas for some years to help manage my chronic pain and fatigue, and have found it to be extremely safe and effective.
Where am I now?
I’m 3 weeks out from the big sick and I’m still rebuilding my strength. The fatigue wore off for me around the 2 week mark. I have a lagging cough which is finally clearing up now. Otherwise, so far so good. Energetically, I feel fantastic! In a podcast titled ‘Beyond the Virus of Fear and Guilt’ with Aubrey Marcus, I heard Zac Bush MD describe viruses as an operating system reboot for our bodies. Bush and Marcus discuss reframing – or at least consciously framing – how we relate to this virus and any others. This resonated with me, as I have used framing to improve my relationship with chronic pain. In my experience, practicing radical acceptance of things I cannot control and learning to embrace the growth and occasional upside that accompany suffering brings great relief, physically, psychologically and emotionally. I shared about discovering how powerful mind-body techniques are in a Barefaced Story last year, you can watch below.
So where I’m going with that is to say that I have decided to view all viruses, including this one, as an opportunity for system shut down and reboot. And incredibly, I feel amazing. I feel like my body and mind have had a complete recalibration. My appetite is restored to baseline. My weight settled a bit. My energy levels feel reset. I feel quite clear and focused. Placebo effect? Would I have felt great anyway? Maybe, who cares.
All I know is I choose to live in love over fear.
On the subject of African nations faring well, is there even a pandemic in Niger rn?